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Opinions of Sunday, 10 April 2016

Columnist: Asare Adei

Our crisis local not global

When the President of a state says anything, the citizenry would want to believe their President; that is why I find it quite unfortunate that when President Mahama speaks we are tempted to seek confirmation to be sure whether he is telling the truth or it is one of those propaganda statements that have come to characterize the communication strategy of the President?s administration.

Not very long ago, the President, at a program in the Volta Region, was reported to have said that the NPP did NOTHING in the region throughout their eight years in power.

As to exactly what the NPP in government did or did not do, it is up to the people who live in the region to tell the rest of us. But we all know the NPP did something in the region during their tenure and expect the President to recognize that.

Recently, there was brouhaha across the country over projects the President had put in his State of the Nation Address as having been completed or being on course, when in fact those projects were nowhere near completion or had been abandoned.

A case in point was the Hohoe town roads which the President claimed was progressing sturdily, and yet Citi fm?s checks proved otherwise.

One would have thought that, having been exposed on several occasions as not being wholly truthful with the populace, the President would begin to redeem the image of the Presidency by turning to the truth and nothing but the truth. However the President does not seem to think it necessary to turn the new page.

In an interview he granted Twin City Radio in the Western Region recently, the President said, ?Ghana is an attractive place to do business . . . People say Ghana has become [a country with] high cost of doing business and so investments are falling, there is no truth in it . . . Ghana is one of the few countries, emerging countries that have seen increased investments in these times when we have WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS.? (The emphasis on WORLD ECONOMIC CRISIS is mine).

The President goes on to say that, ?The resilience of the economy is seen in the relative stability that we are experiencing. You know what is happening in the world. There is financial crisis going on in the world.?

Now, in the first place, it is not true that Ghana is an attractive place to do business. It is a fact that the cost of doing business in this country among the highest in the world.

The president compared us to Cote d'Ivoire. There interest rate hovers around 3% while it is above 26% in this country. Our cedi over the years has not been stable. And we are currently reeling under a neck breaking tax regime, so if the President says this country is attractive to investors he should mention a those things that make it attractive.

Then also, I do need help here: What world financial crisis is the President talking about? Mr President I am sorry but I do not know what is happening in the world that explains the crisis your government has led this country into.

The last time I checked, the global or world economic crisis peaked in 2008, when oil prices hit record highs above $140. Food prices as well as prices of other consumables went up globally, causing inflation the world over. There were other issues of liquidity or the credit crunch and collapse of the real estate sector in some countries, but I am not even sure how those ones affected Ghana.

So yes this country reeled under high oil price and imported inflation and some liquidity challenges, yet the worst of this crisis was in 2008. From 2009 onwards various countries have taken steps towards recovery. And by 2012 many countries have witnessed stability in their economies. Now oil is selling at a record low of $39. As a net importer of crude should this be a crisis situation for us? No.

In 2012 the President told us that this country was fast growing at the speed of the fastest man in the world then, Usain Bolt. And this world has not seen any global crisis since then. So if we want to know why we are in crisis today we should look back at what we did to ourselves around 2012, because it was just after 2012 that our crisis manifested itself.

President Mahama and the NDC government must take responsibility for their own mess and clean it up rather than seek to blame it on a nonexistent ?world economic crisis?. When the President was recklessly overspending towards the end of 2012 to win elections at all cost, he should have known his actions would have consequences for this country.

The wanton misappropriation of funds, wastage, corruption, paying monies to people who did no work; these are the reasons we do not have money now to pay teacher-trainees their allowances.

We had to go to IMF not because there was world economic crisis but because we had been too wasteful to be trusted. And now because of IMF our already bad unemployment situation has worsened.

There is no world economic crisis going on anywhere now; our crisis is our own making and the fault of President Mahama. May God help us with a new and better leader!